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France: Onwards or Far Right?

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Le Pen casts her vote during the first round of presidential elections

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Emmanuel Macron will face off against Marine Le Pen in final round of voting on May 7

By Shailaja Paramathma

With the projections of the French presidential elections 2017 now out, France shows a preference for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron at 23.7 percent on the one hand and on the other for extreme right-wing party candidate Marine Le Pen at 21.7 percent. The danger of this once social democratic country leaning far right for good is now as real as it is not. So in a way even though the first round of elections are over, we are nowhere over the hump with the suspense.

The second and final round of elections will be in two weeks time on May 7, where these top two candidates will vie for the presidency of France. It is often said that the French vote with their hearts in the first round of elections, pushing their preferred candidate to advance to the second round.  And in the second round they vote with their heads, coldly calculating to ensure that the candidate they dislike the most loses.

Former banker, Macron is only 39 years old and a relative newbie on the French political scene. Macron resigned from current president Francois Hollande’s government in 2016 and formed his own party En Marche (Onwards!). At that time, it had seemed like a rather ambitious plan but in just 18 months, he has managed to garner 200,000 singed-up members, which has made the possibility of him sitting in the hot seat quite real. In his manifesto he vows to cut taxes and spending but also provide support for those on low incomes. This ex-economy minister promises to bring down unemployment and give businesses greater leeway to design their own schedules. He is pro-globalisation and is in favour of France remaining in the European Union.

Accompanied by his wife, Macron casts his ballot

Accompanied by his wife, Macron casts his ballot

He differs on all of this with his contender Le Pen from the Front National but most of all the two are placed diametrically opposite from each other on immigration—Macron does not just support immigration but also intends to intervene in Syria if elected, whereas Le Pen has promised to be extremely hard on immigration and wishes to give back France to the French, as it were.

Daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen who led the Front National for four decades, it is only under Marine’s leadership that the party has for the first time come as close as she has to the presidential palace. Even though the junior Le Pen expelled daddy dearest from the party in 2015, she seems to have retained her father’s vitriol for immigrants, especially Muslims. A chest-beating nationalist, she has plans to hold a referendum on “Frexit”, if elected.

The final television debate between the two candidates will take place on May 3. It will be a highly watched program and decisive in more ways than one for those still sitting on the fence.

Irrespective of which way the voters lead their nation, the truth of the matter is that the tussle between the far right and the rest is at present very real in France. The two parties, with their agendas and promises, are very unlike each other. So, in that sense no matter which candidate wins, there will be an equal number of the French population who will be dissatisfied and opposed to what the winning party will do during its tenure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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Dubai sky turns green during storm in UAE, video goes viral

The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain.

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1 person was killed in UAE as it witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday, stranding commuters, flooding roads, disrupting trains and flights and resulting in water leakage from mall ceilings. The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain. It is being said that the rainfall was the highest documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The heavy rainfall in UAE came days after a similar situation in neighbouring Oman, where 13 people were killed in flash floods. Many parts of Oman saw torrential rains, which caused students to be trapped in buses and swept away motorists and trapped people in their homes.

Videos from Dubai circulating on social media showed widespread waterlogging on roads in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other important cities. This left daily commuters in cars and other vehicles struggling to get back home. Dubai metro station too was seen flooded and closed.

One such video circulating on social media shows the aerial view of the city of Dubai from the top of a building. In the video the stormy winds are seen blowing over the city of Dubai. As the storm intensifies the Dubai sky turns green and ultimately gets covered by heavy rainfall. The video has gone viral on social media with more than 1.1 million views.

Another video showed water leakage from the ceilings of shopping malls, flooding the floors and destroying goods. A video which was shot in the famous Mall of the Emirates, showed pieces of ceiling falling as the rainwater gushed inside. Videos from many outlets of the Deira City Centre mall chain showed escalators being rendered unusable. Majid Al Futtaim, the company which owns the Mall of Emirates, said that the shopping complexes have been kept open and the customers are being sent away from the flooded areas. 

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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